Scott Hoping to Grow from Costly Mistake
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Shannon Scott had no business taking the last shot at Michigan State.
Not from where he was on the floor. Not with how much time was left. Certainly not when Deshaun Thomas, Ohio State’s best offensive player by a wide margin, was throwing in darts from behind the arc like he was practicing for a Pop-A-Shot tournament.
Photo by Jim Davidson
“I wanted to get the ball to DT, but I felt like he was covered so I tried to make a play on the rim,” Scott said Monday as the Buckeyes prepared for their first real test since losing by three up in East Lansing.
“I’m not trying to dwell on it right now. I just want to find a way to move on from it and make a better decision next time. I think it’s going to help my game a lot.”
Thomas, who made six threes that night at the Breslin Center, was actually trailing Scott on that final play, but that wasn’t how they drew up. Scott was supposed to stay middle so the Buckeyes could space the floor and, hopefully get a good shot for their preseason All-American.
He was practically begging for the ball with his eyes. After Scott’s desperation heave (with nearly three seconds still on the clock) hit glass and bounced away harmlessly, Scott had to be console by teammate Evan Ravenel.
It was a frustrating end to a hard-fought battle, one in which Thomas played like a true superstar, but he wasn’t upset with his young teammate.
“I talked to him and I told him, ‘Just keep your head up, man. I was in that situation before, and you’ve got more games. Just keep your head up and stay focused,’ ” Thomas said in the hallway outside the locker room after that game.
“In that position, I probably would have thought that a guy was going to foul me and I probably would’ve done the same thing. I just told him to move forward.”
If it makes him feel any better, the Spartans were absolutely planning to foul Thomas on that play. That’s not typical Tom Izzo, but he wasn’t going to let Ohio State’s best player “shoot it from a mountain” if it gave him a chance to tie the game at the buzzer.
Adreian Payne, an athletic 6-10 forward out of Dayton, was waiting to hack Thomas if he so much as looked at the basketball with too much determination, but Scott threw the ball up without much of a prayer instead.
“I think I’ve learned a lot of stuff throughout my career here, but I’m still learning a lot,” said the son of former Boston Celtics guard Charlie Scott.
“I don’t have everything down yet. As of right now, I’m still picking up new things that are going to help my game a lot.”
Only a sophomore, Scott has already elevated his game to a new level this season. Despite being a McDonald’s All-American, Scott looked like a fish out of water for most of his rookie season.
He shot less than 30 percent from the floor and went 1 of 18 from behind the arc during a rocky freshman campaign, but Scott has quietly become one of the main cogs in the engine of Ohio State basketball this season.
“I feel like a more important part of the team,” he said Monday.
“I have to come in and make plays at all times. I can’t just be another member on the court, I have to make stuff happen. I feel like there’s more of a role there, but I have to be productive with it.”
Along the way, he’s earned the trust of Ohio State head coach Thad Matta. So much so that Matta didn’t have to say much to his young point guard after a tough moment in which he really felt like he let his team down.
“I didn’t say a whole lot to him,” Matta said. “We obviously didn’t get what we wanted, but he was great coming in that Sunday and we were on to the next thing.
“Trust me, that was not why we lost the game, there’s no doubt about it. Everybody remembers the last play. There were things that we did very well in that game, but there were a few things that were costly that probably caused us not to win the basketball game.”
Matta’s one message to Scott was to play forward. Not to let that one mistake ruin his confidence or change who he is going to be every time he steps on the court.
“He’s a fighter, he’s a competitor,” said teammate Aaron Craft, who knows what it’s like to misfire on a last-second shot in a critical game.
“I’d much rather have him react the way he did rather than just shrug it off and not care at all because that means he cares about winning and cares about making the right decision.”
Scott was visibly shaken after missing that shot. He buried his head in his jersey and slumped his body in the waiting arms of consoling teammates. It was a brutally tough lesson for a young point guard, but one that could pay big dividends in March if he ends up in a similar situation with the game on the line.
“He’s not going to be defined by that moment,” Craft added.
“He’s going to be defined on how he came back, how he practices and how he plays.”
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